Fun Polycotylus Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Feb 25, 2022
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Polycotylus facts are interesting.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 3.7 Min

Polycotylus was a Plesiosaur genus under the family Polycotylidae. They had a short neck which led to their classification as a Pliosaur under the superfamily Polycotylidae, and they were closely related to the plesiosaurs. There are 11 known species of the genus, with Polycotylus latipinnis as the type species. The new species was described properly since a more or less complete skeleton was discovered in 1949 from Alabama after they were identified in Kansas. A holotype of Polycotylus with one fetus inside was discovered in Kansas in the '80s, and ultimately, the fossil was narrated in 2011. The fetus length inside the mother was about 40 % the actual length of the mother. This implies that around two-thirds of the gestation of the fetus was complete. 

Polycotylus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Polycotylus'?

The name Polycotylus is pronounced as 'Pol-e-cot-e-lus'.

What type of dinosaur was a Polycotylus?

The Polycotylus was not actually a dinosaur, it coexisted along with many dinosaurs, but they fall under the category of primitive marine reptile. Polycotylus was one of the polycotylid plesiosaurs.

In which geological period did the Polycotylus roam the Earth?

The Polycotylus roamed around the Earth throughout the Upper Cretaceous period in many places around the world. They likely existed from the Turonian up to the Cenomanian age of the Cretaceous period.

When did the Polycotylus become extinct?

The fossils of Polycotylus suggest that they were found during the late Cretaceous era, but there is no information regarding when they became extinct. In North America, they were found discovered from the Tropic Shale of southern Utah.

Where did Polycotylus live?

They were a widespread reptile that was found in the waters of North America, Australia, and Russia during the late Cretaceous.

What was the Polycotyluss' habitat?

The Polycotylus was a marine reptile that lived in the oceans of the Jurassic period and Cretaceous period.

Who did the Polycotylus live with?

Polycotylus showed parental care to their offspring, but whether they hunted in packs is not known.

How long did a Polycotylus live?

The Polycotylus evolved during the Late Cretaceous period, but there is no information on whether they survived the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event.

How did they reproduce?

The actual mechanism behind the reproduction method of Polycotylus and how the juveniles were born are not entirely known to us. Paleontologists believe that the members of plesiosaurs showed tendencies of viviparity (live birth) as the common method of reproduction. Their bodies were not adapted for movement in the water, so they probably had difficulties laying eggs outside water. They might have given live birth in the water like other marine reptiles in the contemporary period.

Polycotylus Fun Facts

What did the Polycotylus look like?

The Polycotylus was a large reptile with a short tail. They had a broad body, and the long head was connected by a short narrow neck. They were considered to be the basal polycotylid since they had more neck vertebrae than other polycotylids, which connected them to the long-necked dinosaurs and their humerus was also primitive shape. They had a low crest on their skull, and the long ischia are their distinguishing feature.

Polyctylus had complete cranial anatomy.
*We've been unable to source an image of Polycotylus and have used an image of a T-Rex instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Polycotylus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

How many bones did a Polycotylus have?

The total number of bones that were present in the body of a Polycotylus is not known. They were previously described from fossil fragments, but later a complete skeleton was discovered.

How did they communicate?

There is no information regarding the communication methods of the Polycotylus. Probably they communicated by vocalizations.

How big was the Polycotylus?

An average Polycotylus was around 16 ft (4.8 m) long, but the size is dependant on the species. However, the species was half the size of the Styxosaurus.

How fast could a Polycotylus move?

Polycotylus dinosaurs were swift swimmers, but as infants, they might have had compromised swimming abilities. Their speed is unknown.

How much did a Polycotylus weigh?

The weight of the Polycotylus is not determined; it depended on the species, just like the length.

What were the male and female names of the species?

The male and the female do not have any particular name. Both of them were called Polycotylus.

What would you call a baby Polycotylus?

Polycotylus gave birth to live young; they were called juvenile Polycotylus.

How aggressive were they?

They were carnivorous or piscivorous reptiles of the sea, so they were probably aggressive. The thick teeth of the reptile with striations on the surface also prove that they were aggressive in nature.

Did you know…

The type species of Polycotylus was named by the American Paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope in 1869.

*We've been unable to source an image of Polycotylus and have used an image of a Pterosaur instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Polycotylus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

Polycotylus Facts

What Did They Prey On?


what Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


What Did They Look Like?


How Much Did They Weigh?


Skin Type

Wet scales

How Long Were They?

16 ft (4.8 m)

How Tall Were They?










Scientific Name

Polycotylus latipinnis

What Were Their Main Threats?


What Habitat Did They Live In?


Where Did They Live?

North America, Russia, Australia
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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